24 April 2013

End of the Tunnel ( Pt 21 ) – Proton and Electron

Sixteen years ago a skinny little boy, living in a wooden house in an undeveloped area called Bukit Bucu, joined Almanar wiith a group of Form One children. Unlike other boys he was not one who made Pakcik shout for silence, nor was Nazran one of those kids whose behaviour in class had any reasons to be reprimanded by Pakcik. Over the following years our relationship could only move closer. 

Five years later I found the two of us sitting in Nuri (Pakcik’s home) to discuss what university courses he should consider. I still remember he was the very first person I suggested a course related to geology, and he pursue along that route, giving me a hope that one day, working for an exploration company, he would be mapping the sea bed off the coast of Terengganu studying earth samples for black gold.

No, how often in life one reaches ‘two roads diverged in a wood’ ( from Robert Frost’s poem ). At one point of his early working life Nazran took a path less travelled by – an employment related to atomic energy. Well, he now knows more than Pakcik on this subject but I know I can liken him to a lonely proton of an atom only to be neutralised by an electron. There he found his match.

Events moved very fast and before I knew it  Pakcik and Makcik found ourselves sitting at a table with two ladies who happened to be colleagues of the wedding couple.

Once a lonely proton and a lonely electron, finally neutralised in harmoniously beautiful blue

Makcik with bride and her two colleagues

Our congratulations go to this lovely couple. Perhaps, before long Nazran will not be alone visiting us but as a couple walking hand-in-hand with a baby to support as well.

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12 April 2013

Book to keep, not read (Pt 1) - Norman Hunter


Norman Hunter and his brain storm

Norman Hunter's The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawn

The cover picture looks humorously funny. The man is Norman Hunter's absent-minded professor. Way back in 1977 ( was it really 35 years ago now ?) I stumbled on two of Hunter's books in a London store; two as far as I have so far discovered in my junk library, but, hopefully, I could find more.

Look at the first two paragraphs of the book, introducing this great Prof - please lick on the picture to enlarge it a shade more. (Alas, I wish I could ask this great professor some of the techniques in blogging, and make the writing larger !)

It is hard to wipe off the grins on my face revisiting this book.

I am sorry if you, like the Prof, cannot find your reading glasses to enlarge the writing

If I can remember, unlike the absent-minded Prof, I will post a picture of Professor Branestawn's Dictionary some time in future.  Branestawn is the professor's way of writing 'brain storm', the cause of his absent-mindedness.

I wonder how many of my visitors have read the humours of Norman Hunter

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04 April 2013

They get what they deserve

Did I get it right that around 17,000 children managed to get straight A’s in the recent SPM examination?  Is it really as simple as that, and that a world record as well, perhaps?

That being the scenario I have every reason to be depressed because when I was of that age I did not achieve that distinction, nor did any of my three children at their respective ages. If that is not enough, I have not yet seen one of my grandchildren able to ‘break that record’, or should I say ‘create a record’. Well, isn’t there a saying that goes - ‘like grandfather like father like grandson’?

No, we have not done that badly, though.


The first call Pakcik received that day was from that girl I wrote about on 30.10.12, click “Do we have a winner?”

Just do it with a smile

Pakcik, I’ve got straight A’s,” came her soft voice over the phone. Later she turned up at our house to show her examination result slip, and to discuss her likely courses. What an irony it is when good results create a problem of choice. I never had that when what I desparately needed was just one chance.

A few others turned up to express, “Thank you Pakcik.” That was reward enough, the one I have been enjoying over the last many years.

Yes, the 8, 7, 6, 5 and the rset of A's are all there.

There is nothing to complain about

So what if we get a couple of A's less?

So, another year has passed and more children are taking a big step into the increasingly more challenging world. We can look back and smile at how we managed our days. It is now their turns.


Whilst I am gratified to see more ex-Almanar pupils successfully getting through their SPM examination, and more completing their further studies,
I cannot help thinking of the despair in the few unfortunate families when the inevitable happens. My postings on 23rd April 2012 and 16th Nov 2013 ( End of tunnel series Pt 17 and Pt 20 ) give short accounts of the demise of two of Pakcik’s ‘children’ when all seemed to signal a brighter future for the families.

Luqman - 34

That is from the concluding verse of Surah Luqman which I understand to mean, “And no one knows what tomorrow has in store. And no one knows what land he is to die. Verily HE has full knowledge of everything.”

 I think of that to bring home my limitations in life – a sobering thought. But we strive hard, nonetheless, as a prerequisite. And I advise all my 'children' to bear this in mind.

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